If any were needed, British-based Russian welterweight, David Avanesyan, has been handed even extra motivation ahead of his forthcoming fight against ring legend ‘Sugar’ Shane Mosley in Arizona this weekend with the news that the winner will be named mandatory for the WBA regular world title, currently held by Keith Thurman.
The contest against Mosley, a former three-weight world champion and two-time Ring Magazine pound for pound fighter of the year, at the Gila River Arena in Glendale Arizona on Saturday (28 May) will be Avanesyan’s first defence of the WBA interim title he won in November last year.
The former Russian amateur international only arrived in England in 2014 but, since then, he has quietly risen through the rankings to firmly establish himself as a bonafide world title challenger. Guided by North West manager and promoter Neil Marsh, and trained in Newark, Nottinghamshire, by Carl Greaves, Avanesyan is obviously delighted at the news that, should he beat the 44-year old Mosley, he will face one of the biggest names in the division later in the year; Thurman, widely recognised as the best fighter on the planet at 147lbs, defends his title against former IBF belt holder, Shawn Porter, at the Barclays Centre, New York, on 25 June.
Speaking from America, where he and his team are acclimatising themselves ahead of this weekend’s fight, Avanesyan said: “What can I say? It just gets better and better. The title fight in Monaco [v Venezuelan Charlie Navarro] was amazing. [The fight against] Mosley even more so. But the news [I will fight] for the world title against Thurman [or] Porter is hard to believe. I am very happy.”
Referring to his manager and promoter, Neil Marsh, who has trumped a number of more well-known promoters and managers in securing the title fight for his charge, Avanesyan said: “I can’t believe what Neil has done for me in just over a year. The last few months I have started to call him Santa Claus for the gifts he gives me. I’m so grateful to him, to Carl, who is a great trainer and motivator, Martin [Cullen], Jamie [Murphy] and everyone who has helped me on my journey – from the hotels we stay in to the matchmakers who make the fights. Of course also special thanks to [WBA President] Gilberto Mendoza for [naming the winner of this fight as] mandatory for the world title.
“This is a fantastic opportunity to change my life forever. Neil promised me three things; a good belt to be able to get a good fight and make my name; a fight that will be the key to America; and a big money fight against one of the big names. I don’t want to look beyond Mosley but I am so hungry for this [Thurman or Porter] opportunity. The plan has gone perfect. I will not let him or my team down. All I can say is bring on 28 May. I’m 100% ready and raring to go.”
The chance to face Thurman or Porter is one that many of the world’s top welterweights, including Sheffield’s current IBF king, Kell Brook, have been keen to grasp for some time, and is both a coup and a huge statement for Marsh and the team behind Avanesyan.
Marsh said: “I’m delighted at this news, one we have worked very hard for since David, Carl and I teamed up for the Navarro fight. He and Carl, who has been so supportive, work great together. Everything we tell David he listens to and acts on. I’m so pleased for him. He deserves it. It’s his reward for all the hard work and trust he has placed in us. It makes us all look forward to the Mosley fight even more – what further motivation do we need?”
Echoing Avanesyan’s thanks for both his team and the WBA for naming the winner of Saturday’s contest as mandatory for the regular title, Marsh added: “I firmly believe that many people play a part in any success story and this news is for all of them. Lots have helped us and I thank every one of them. I would personally like to thank the WBA and Gilberto for all their help and guidance and a special thank you to Carl, an excellent trainer who has been so easy to work with and completely understanding of how everything works in trying to secure David fights at this level. He understands the game. Also thanks to Jamie Murphy for his world class support and everyone who has played a part in ‘Team Ava’. Now it’s all down to David. I’m 100% certain he will win and we can start planning an even bigger fight against either Thurman or Porter later in the year.”
Highlighting the momentum the small but focused team behind Avanesyan’s rise, trainer Carl Greaves added: “I’m proud to be part of this great journey – it’s a great story, you could not write a better script. It’s a fantastic achievement to get such a big fight and thanks to Neil for getting it. David is great to work with. He is unbelievably talented and so determined to succeed. I’m sure he will grab this chance with both hands. I can’t wait for the weekend now, and look forward to working with David in future ahead of what I am sure will be even bigger nights to come.”
David Avanesyan v Shane Mosley for the WBA interim world welterweight title, and WBA final eliminator, takes place this Saturday (28 May) at the Gila River Arena, Glendale, Arizona. It will be screened free on terrestrial TV in the USA by the CBS Sports Network and is also on BoxNation in the UK.